The Earth’s surface is 70% water and 30% land with 97% of water being salt water and only 3% for freshwater. From the very limited amount of freshwater, 15% is locked up in icebergs and in the atmosphere, while 85% is fit for human consumption.
Global freshwater consumption dramatically increased since the 1900s with the growth in population which in effect led to lack of access to safe water and aggregated by the lack of sanitation
Based on www.worldwildlife.org, over 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to potable water resources while 2.6 billion are at risk for lack of adequate sanitation.
In the Philippines according to www.water.org, 9 million people lack access to safe water while 19 million lack access to improved sanitation.
Further, statistics provided by Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) quotes that about 200,000 residents from Masbate, Albay, and Camarines Sur don’t have access to safe drinking water and agencies of the government are working hard to alleviate the situation.
And as a water utility, the Metropolitan Naga Water District (MNWD) continues to oversee the need of the community. To date, MNWD supplies about 50,000 service connections including commercial, industrial, and residential sectors, making sure that member consumers have clean and adequate drinking water.
The above figure clearly tells us that water resource has become a serious socio-economic issue confronting the world today. The demand for potable water is increasing and water-related concerns are attracting both the international and local scenes.
One good example is that in recent studies stated in the Guardian online portal, results revealed microplastic contamination in tap water in most countries including the US, some in Europe, and even Asian territories. Therefore, reinforcing the call for further research on health implications and campaign on the reduction of plastic use.
Indeed, water issues at present have become more diverse and serious, asking for everybody’s utmost attention.
Water Conservation at a Glance
Water conservation pertains to the most economic use of water or the recycling of used water to ensure sustainable supply. This program is essential because water conservation warrants the availability of water and at the same time preservation of energy and habitat.
There are many ways on how to conserve water and the list is long. The great news is that all of us, young and adults alike are empowered to help by beginning at home. Begin by educating children about the importance of water and instill the habit of the basic water-saving practices. Through this, we are able to address the plight on water sustainability and contribute to our community.
The MNWD as an agency of the government shares in this advocacy on water conservation. In view of this campaign, the MNWD is conducting awareness and information dissemination programs in various schools. Flyers, publications, and videos about water-saving tips and projects were published and distributed to reach all sectors of society. Water fora, contests, and other information education campaign activities are also being implemented to intensify public awareness and involvement.
Meanwhile, MNWD is considering Rainwater Harvesting as an alternative water technology to offset freshwater use from the surface and groundwater sources, thus, conserving the use of treated water.
Rainwater Harvesting is proven to be cost-effective and environment friendly, as this has been around for thousands of years and has gained acceptability.
Water conservation and wise utilization is a community involvement. We have to be smarter in how we use our water resources to meet sustainability for future generations.
The Ladder to Success
The United Nations General Assembly emphasizes the need for cooperation in order to achieve equilibrium between the different needs and priorities and share the water resource equitably. Water should be an instrument that bind and not divide.
Henceforth, the MNWD maintains an active partnership with other government agencies in water and watershed management programs of the Mount Isarog Natural Park (MINP).
From 1994 to 2017, MNWD made significant breakthroughs both physical and institutional developments. Physical Development includes rehabilitation, maintenance, and protection of the watershed with 673 hectares; relocation of park settlers, eviction of remaining park settlers; and mitigation and apprehension of illegal activities.
Institutional Development entails trainings and seminars for the Mount Isarog Guardians (MIGs). Some of these trainings were Forest Fire Protection and Maintenance, Paralegal, Quarterly Drill on Forest Fire, Prevention and Rescue Operation, Natural Tourism and Eco Tour Guiding, Capacity Trainings, and other on-going projects with stakeholders and agencies.
The MNWD has definitely proven its strength and authority as a local water utility. The completed projects, existing plans, future programs, and solid partnership with various sectors have significantly helped the community augment its socio-economic status.
As MNWD takes the lead to provide safe, sufficient, and affordable potable water to its service areas, it also appeals for the integration of efficient water supply management of other agencies and private institutions. As we all know, water is a finite resource that we should protect to ensure sustainability.
Water is a shared resource that should bring people together. The status quo in water resource availability is a reminder to all of us to unite and act as one. (Auria S. Gonzales)